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O’Rourke Didn’t Trash Seniors and Veterans

Quick Take

There’s no evidence that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke made a series of disparaging comments about the elderly and veterans, despite what a popular meme claims.

Full Story

A meme circulating on Facebook claims that Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic congressman from Texas, said: “IF I COULD THROW TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE IN THE GARBAGE IT WOULD BE THE ELDERLY AND WOUNDED VETERANS. WHEN A TOOL BREAKS YOU DONT FIX IT, YOU THROW IT IN THE DAMN TRASH.”

We searched the internet, the Congressional Record and the Nexis news database, and found no evidence that he uttered those words or expressed any such sentiments.

O’Rourke gained national attention during his unsuccessful 2018 campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. He is now considering whether to run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Contrary to the statements attributed to him in the meme, O’Rourke’s old Senate campaign site, which includes his positions on seniors and veterans, promises support for those groups.

With regard to seniors, it says: “Texas seniors have built the families, communities, and businesses we now enjoy. We owe it to them to honor and protect the commitment we made to care for them through Social Security and Medicare.”

On veterans, it says: “Our veterans should receive the care and dignity they have earned. That begins with ensuring that every veteran can receive access to quality healthcare, timely resolutions to their disability claims and appeals, and sustainable housing.”

He also recorded a video in which he says, for those reasons, he asked for a seat on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and cosponsored bipartisan legislation to “open up mental health care access” in an effort to “improve quality of life for those veterans and in many cases, literally, save their lives.”

One such bill, the Honor Our Commitment Act of 2017, which O’Rourke introduced in the House and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy introduced in the Senate, was later included in an omnibus appropriations bill that President Donald Trump signed into law in March 2018. It called for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide mental and behavioral health care services to veterans who received “other-than-honorable” discharges.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.


Beto for Senate. “Veterans.” Website accessed via the Internet Archive. 14 Feb 2019.

Beto for Senate. “Seniors.” Website accessed via the Internet Archive. 14 Feb 2019.

Beto for Texas. “Veterans.” YouTube video. 29 Jan 2018.

U.S. House. “H.R. 1685, Honor Our Commitment Act of 2017.” (as introduced 22 Mar 2017.)

Office of Sen. Chris Murphy. “Murphy’s ‘Honor Our Commitment Act’ Included in FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.” Press release. 22 Mar 2018.

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. Public Law No: 115-14. 23 March 2018.

O’Rourke, Beto. “Honor Our Commitment Act of 2017.” Medium.com. 22 Mar 2017.

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Claims that former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke referred to seniors and wounded veterans as "garbage."
Saturday, December 29, 2018